A crucial part of networking in your respective industry is to attend business shows. Of course, you will want to promote yourself and give off the best impression possible and trade shows are a great way to make contacts, pick up potential clients and get your name out there in whatever industry you work in.

There are, in fact, plenty of ways to effectively promote yourself. But how can you do this authentically? In this guide, we have some tips and tricks for you to consider when preparing for a trade fair or business show.

Dressing up your stand

At a business show, you are competing for attention against the noise of a very well-advertised room. You should aim to attract people to your booth or stand through banners, posters, contests and interactive media such as touchscreens.

The sky is really the limit when it comes to dressing up a stand. Whether you want bar stools, plasma screens, interactive games or you can even hire a stage for just a few hundred pounds.

A great example of interactive media seen at a trade show is: an eyewear company were offering technology at their stand which allowed an attendee to virtually try on sunglasses when facing a large screen on the wall. This is a great example of offering something interactive for potential customers.

Be eye-catching

To attract initial attention, consider putting out freebies at the front of your stand such as sweets, soft toys, pens or product samples as this is something that they can take away with them. Whilst branded pens can cost a few pounds, there is an argument to invest in more expensive pens and freebies as they will more likely last for several years and continue to give you exposure.

You could choose a unique theme for your booth to make you stand out, but do not stray away from your current branding as you want it be consistent across your logo, brochures and website. Having clear branding and concise information on your banners and posters is essential to successful promotion.

Another question is whether you want your staff or sales team to represent your brand. It is common for people to hire models to promote their brands – albeit just for the day.

Team should be dressed appropriately

Before attending, you should be clear with your sales team what sort of attire you expect them to wear and how this reflects the brand.

Your clothing will also reflect on what kind of people you attract to your stand. For instance, a tech company that conforms to jeans and t-shirt wearing will likely attract similar clientele.

For professional services such as legal, accounting and finance, they will be more presentable in a suit and tie to reflect the professional nature of their services. If they want to look after finances or legal work, you want to instill that trust.

Do some research and promotion beforehand

Determine which trade and business shows are fitting for your brand and the marketing and sales goals which your company holds. Evaluate the details of the show including; how many attendees will be there, the number of businesses which are going to exhibit their products and so on. You want to be sure you are attending the right sort of shows as they can be costly to exhibit at.

Before attending a trade show, you can take to the likes of Twitter for some promotion. Aim to tweet about attending the trade show a few days before and on the day of the trade show. Use relevant hashtags and if available, use the @ handle to tag the business show or business show organiser in your tweet. The twitter account may then favourite or retweet your tweet, driving authentic traction to your account.

The trade show will likely have an active website and typically list the exhibitors. This is another good opportunity to get your information on their website early and ask if you can add any blog posts to further boost your exposure.

Be clear on your goals

What the goals of the business show? To raise awareness or sign up customers? It is important the team know what they want to achieve and are asking the right questions. Business owners and representatives love to talk about themselves and sometimes your job should just be to listen.

But having clear information on your pricing, what services you can offer and a simple way for them to get in touch is vital. Having a clipboard on hand and asking people to add their email address is a sensible way to get warm leads on the day. Then, it is your responsibility to follow it up the next day and close the deal.